Press release time!
ABC meets its Soul Mates this August
Thursday, June 30, 2016 — ABC welcomes Bondi Hipsters, Cavemen, Kiwi Assassins and Ancient Egyptians next month when Australian comedy series Soul Mates II premieres on Wednesday, 3 August at 9.40pm. A co-commission between ABC and NBC-Universal’s comedy streaming channel Seeso (USA), the second series will also be available on ABC iview in its entirety from this date.
Written and directed by brothers Christiaan and Connor Van Vuuren, Soul Mates II stars Christiaan and Nick Boshier as a couple of buddies continually drawn together across the course of human history, past and future. The second instalment introduces viewers to a new world of Ancient Egyptians, as well as new cast members, Doris Younane, John Howard and Ian Roberts.
Hatshepsut (Younane) is a female pharaoh and tiger mum who plays her children, artsy bastard son Seti (Boshier) and demi-god Thutmose (Roberts) against each other. When Hatshepsut demands Seti renovate Thutmose’s tomb in preparation for his ascension to the next life, Seti meets Amram (Christiaan Van Vuuren), a capable, quick-witted slave. As they become a team, is a friendship forming or is it something much more mystical that will affect their souls forever?
Series One’s Bondi Hipsters, Dom and Adrian, return with big plans to find underground success, opening the “Closed Cafe”, an establishment so “Bondi-cool” that it’s only open when it’s shut. The pair also set out to rid Bondi of buff Brazilians that they believe are cutting their grass with local women. Meanwhile, Kiwi Assassins, Terry Thinge and Roger Blade are operating undercover in a private school to discover why the New Zealand schoolboy rugby team has lost to the Aussies, again, finding themselves tangled in a scrum of lies, drugs and suspiciously Maori-looking “local” rugby lads. And the cavemen, Sticks and Rocky, have found their tribe but now must unravel the quagmire of complexities that come with living in a society, pondering questions such as who does which jobs, why do we need money and most importantly, who should get “elected” most popular?
Series one of Soul Mates will be available on ABC iview for two weeks from 20 July ahead of Soul Mates II airing on ABC and iview.
We’re going to file our reaction under “guardedly positive”, as the first series wasn’t the worst thing the ABC aired that year. Has it really come to this? Has simply not being complete shit become enough to spark our interest in a comedy? Considering we just saw an ad for the return of Gruen and now can’t stop vomiting, yes. Yes it is.
Sure, bringing back three of the four plotlines from the first series isn’t so great. The cavemen wore out their welcome by episode six; the Kiwi Assassins by episode two (though they were always the kind of comedy characters that were bound to catch on in a world where Danger 5 got two series). But optimistically the caveman stuff might have enough of a twist on it to make it work, and the Egyptian plot… well, we’re going to miss all the hi-tech visual gags from the time travel plot from s1.
Actually, the really interesting bit about all this is this bit:
A co-commission between ABC and NBC-Universal’s comedy streaming channel Seeso (USA)
Another day, another ABC comedy series that only exists because someone overseas decided they liked it. We can’t fault the ABC for going after foreign money when they can – Lord knows there’s bugger-all money available locally – and it’s perfectly valid to say who cares where the money comes from as long as we get more local comedy out of it. Our response: remember Please Like Me?
Soul Mates was a decent comedy show that should have automatically got a second series, and we don’t know enough about the behind-the-scenes process (Did they want a year off? Were they actively trying to get an overseas deal?) to suggest that they’re only back because there’s overseas money behind them. But the more our local comedy relies on overseas money, the more likely it is that we’re going to get more series like Please Like Me: shows that local audiences don’t give a rat’s arse about but keep coming back because the people re-commissioning them don’t give a rat’s arse about local audiences.
Obviously this isn’t going to be a problem if the overseas-financed series are just a bonus to our usual comedy line-up. If the ABC can put to air a few extra comedy series because they’re co-productions, excellent! And obviously that kind of thing is in no way going to lead to a cut in the comedy budget as money managers look at co-productions and ask “why can’t you just do more of those?” as they slash the budget.
Obviously we’re not going to get to a stage where the only comedy shows that get the go-ahead on the ABC are ones they can either sell to an overseas audience or can get overseas funding for, because obviously comedy is very different from drama, which is an area where it’s increasingly obvious that overseas money is pretty much the only thing keeping the ABC’s output going.
Obviously comedy is totally different from that. Obviously.